PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania's John R. Rockwell Head Coach of Men's Basketball, Jerome Allen, has announced the hiring of Ira Bowman and Jason Polykoff as assistant coaches with the program. Bowman replaces Mike Martin, who recently left Penn to become head coach at Brown, while Polykoff steps into a role filled the previous two years by Rudy Wise.
"I am extremely happy to continue building this program with someone who is deeply passionate about this University," Allen said of Bowman. "The career Ira had here has been well documented, and I know he will put forth every effort working to make this program the best that it can be."
"It is with great appreciation and honor that I return to the University of Pennsylvania," said Bowman. "It was a privilege to play here and I am equally grateful to have an opportunity to coach here alongside Coach Allen, whom I deeply respect. Jerome was a tremendous teammate at Penn; his character, humility and determination are the building blocks of what it means to be a Quaker. I share his passion and commitment in making Penn basketball the elite program we believe it is. I could not be more excited!"
Of Polykoff, Allen said, "Jason comes to Penn after a short but remarkable career at the high school level. I feel like our hiring him is a home run for this program and the University as a whole, and I am happy to welcome him to our staff."
"Having an opportunity to coach at Penn is essentially a dream come true," said Polykoff. "If you combine the history of Penn basketball with the Big 5 and the Palestra, it is too good of a situation to pass up. Also, to have the opportunity to work with Jerome Allen, Dan Leibovitz and Ira Bowman -- three great coaches and even better people -- I know I am going to learn a lot. Just as important, I've been affiliated with high academic institutions my whole life, coming from Friends' Central, to Haverford College, and back to Friends' Central. I feel a sense of comfort at a place like Penn."
Bowman returns to Penn after spending the last four years at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). The year before Bowman arrived at NJIT, the Highlanders were winless (0-29), and in his first season they went 1-30. Since then, NJIT has improved dramatically-just two years after that 1-30 campaign, the Highlanders went 15-15 overall including a 9-3 Great West Conference mark in 2010-11. This past season, NJIT went 15-17 overall and advanced to the Great West Conference championship game.
Bowman played two years at Penn, the 1994-95 and 1995-96 seasons, after transferring from Providence College. His first year with the Quakers was Allen's senior season, when Penn went 22-6 overall and 14-0 en route to its third straight Ivy League title. Bowman was second-team All-Ivy that season. As a senior, Bowman was the Ivy League Player of the Year and first-team All-Philadelphia Big 5 as he led the Quakers to a 17-10 record including a 12-2 mark in Ivy play. Penn tied Princeton that year for the conference title, but fell to the Tigers in a one-game playoff to determine the Ivy's NCAA Tournament bid.
Following his Penn career, Bowman enjoyed a professional playing career that included stints with the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers and Atlanta Hawks. He also played overseas, in Italy and Australia, as well as in the Continental Basketball Association.
Before returning to college basketball as a coach, Bowman spent four years as director of the Assist by Knight Foundation. In addition, he has experience with several aspects of the NBA including serving as an administrator at the NBA's FIBA Tournament in Las Vegas in 2007 and participating in the NBA's Player Development Assistant Coaches Summit in 2007.
Polykoff comes to Penn after spending the last five years as the head coach at Friends' Central School (FCS) in Wynnewood, Pa. He accumulated a 113-28 record in that time, winning four consecutive Pennsylvania Independent Schools State Championships (2009-12). FCS played in four straight Friends Schools League finals, from 2008-11, winning the title in 2010 and 2011. Polykoff's 2011 team was ranked as high as No. 21 nationally as well as No. 1 in Pennsylvania by MaxPreps and No. 1 in Southeastern Pennsylvania by the Philadelphia Inquirer. Earlier this year, he was selected to coach the Derby Classic All-American Game in Louisville, Ky.
Polykoff coached four McDonald's All-America nominees, including Amile Jefferson who was a McDonald's All-America recipient this season. (Jefferson will play at Duke next year.) More than 10 of Polykoff's former players at Friends' Central have moved on to play college basketball. Polykoff was the Main Line Life Boys' Basketball Coach of the Year in 2008 and the "Best High School Coach" for Main Line Magazine's "2012 Best of the Main Line and Western Suburbs" edition.
In addition to his coaching duties at FCS, Polykoff has been a middle school math teacher at the school and its Sports and Information Director since 2006.
Polykoff played college basketball at Haverford College, where he was team captain in 2005-06. He was the Fords' MVP that year, as well as a Philadelphia Area Small College All-Star, and graduated with six top-10 individual career statistical records.